“Not all fiber crafts are created equal.”

“Not all fiber crafts are created equal.”

“Not all fiber crafts are created equal.”  My best friend said this recently in a conversation about tatting.  Our historical museum in Mazomanie, WI, is preparing an exhibit on needlework for 2016 and has put out a request for someone who tats.  There are plenty of us who knit and crochet and tons of quilters and seamstresses.  Even expertise in embroidery and needlepoint is easy to find.  But tatting seems to be a scarce art form these days.

Both my friend and I tried it in our younger and less patient days.  There were shuttles around the house from an ancestor and I’d always heard that my great-uncle Anton had tatted, having learned it from his mother.  He was a big, burly guy who’d been a lumberjack in his younger days and I thought that if he could do it, then surely I could.  Unfortunately, my patience ran out long before I learned much about it and I have no memory of the skill today.

Remembering my frustration with tatting makes me wonder why, of all the fiber crafts I’ve done or tried, knitting and crochet have been the ones that I’ve stuck with.  Are they easier than the others?  Well, not when I think about learning to knit lace, which I now love to do.  Is it because I can make practical things?  Being an accountant by birth and by training, I’m certainly practical.  But what’s practical about knitting lace?  Maybe it was because I had early success in knitting and crocheting, and success certainly breeds enthusiasm.  But then I was also successful in sewing and embroidery and I don’t do either of those crafts now (except for mending – have to save my favorite hand-knitted socks).  Knitting in particular seems to deeply satisfy my soul.

How about you?  What is you favorite craft and why?

And do you know anyone in Southern Wisconsin who tats?

Image: Tatting materials and implements from the collection of Nicole H. Scalessa, Secretary, Center for Knit and Crochet.


Marilyn J. Huset, Interim Treasurer
Center For Knit and Crochet

Latest comments

  • Janet Bothwick
    January 23, 2015 at 8:25 pm Reply

    I live in eastern Iowa 🙂 I love to tat. I also loom knit, crochet, “Knook”, sew, embroider….. I like to tell others that if it involves a thread and needle of some sort, I know how to do it (well, except bobbin lace, but that is on my bucket list)

    Right now, crochet and tat run close to each other as favorites, but I will try anything once 🙂

    I just love creating, whether the item is useful or just for fun!

    PS if you can’t find someone in Wisconsin who tats, let me know 🙂 There are several Facebook groups for tatters, and I could try to find someone for you.

  • Karen C.K. Ballard
    January 23, 2015 at 10:14 pm Reply

    I tat at a beginner level. However, I learned from Susan Lowman. If I remember correctly, she lives in the Southwest. Would you like me to contact her for you?

    • Marilyn Huset
      January 26, 2015 at 7:56 pm Reply

      Thank you, Karen! I will keep you in mind in case I can’t find anyone closer. Glad to know there are still tatters out there.

  • Andrea
    January 24, 2015 at 2:18 am Reply

    My mother and her mother did every kind of needlework there was. But there was one thing my mother could not do – tatting. So my grandmother taught me to tat without my mother’s knowledge and for Christmas I made an edging on a guest towel for her. She took that as a challenge – If her mother and daughter could tat, so could she. She taught herself and finally got it right. Unfortunately there is not a lot you can do with tatting unless you want to put a delicate edging on everything – not very practical. I have been looking for the time to pick up my shuttle again because I have recently seen articles on tatting and there is a certain amount of nostalgia associated with it for me. I don’t know anyone in Southern Wisconsin and I haven’t done any tatting in many years – wish I could help you because I think it’s important to not let it disappear forever.

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